Seniors (usually) love babies and kids. We used to have a monthly play date with a local senior center and other families with picture books, musical instruments, scarves and snacks for reading, singing, dancing and playing together. It was a fun (free) destination durning the winter and my kids loved the big aquarium and having a new friendly person to read to them. We’ve also arranged Easter Egg hunts, St. Patrick’s Day Parties, Trick-or-Treating simple crafting and holiday caroling. Try to recruit a guitar or piano player for the caroling, or just bring a CD -these audiences don;t judge.
Call your local senior center or residence and ask for the activities director. We’ve worked with West 74th Street Home (300 Amsterdam Avenue @ 74th Street), Encore Senior Center (West 49 Street), 305 West End Assisted Living Center (West 74th Street), Clinton Gardens (West 54th Street) and Willow Towers (New Rochelle) in the past; email us if you need more specific contact info.
Contact your local soup kitchen to ask if they accept donations of home cooked meals or desserts. Find easy recipes that include stirring, scooping, and other kid-friendly steps. Here are tips for cooking for crowds (you may need to borrow extra pots etc. from friends); we’ve found baked ziti, roasted baby carrots and brownies all scale well.
Homemade cookies and treats are also appreciated at most fire stations.
And/or organize food drives in your lobby/school/community of pantry items. Ask the organization what they need.
Host a crafting party to make birthday or holiday cards for frail and isolated seniors. Provide stickers and stencils to help the younger kids. Adults can make cards too. A great use for all the artwork kids bring home.
Kids of any age can also accompany parents on Meals on Wheels deliveries, though a training/background check is required for the adult.
Help kids in need have a loving bedtime and restful good night by collecting new pajamas and/or books to donate. Here’s info on starting a drive.
A great solution for birthday or holiday presents for the kid who already has too much. Party guests still get to shop and have something fun to bring to the party.
I've convinced my kids to do this for birthday (they still got lots of presents from extended family) and we had fun looking at the cute nightwear and fun books before dropping them off.